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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

BUSY WEEK: VOTING, ADMINISTRATIVE POWER, WHIPPING AND PURSES MAKE HEADLINES

There was so much going on this week and weekend — entirely too much – that we need to clear the decks with this series of hot takes:

We have said this before but the proactive measures taken by Santa Anita Park and, yes, the California Horse Racing Board, have the benefit of having history on their side. But was with anything new, it has been a mixed bag.

Measures taken at Santa Anita, and at other Stronach Group tracks, with regard to safety protocols for horses and riders for the sport’s future have been admirable.

And that includes Santa Anita’s stepping to become a polling place in this age of widespread voter suppression in which incumbents believe “fake news” is bad but “fake drop-off boxes” are good.

Also laudable are actions taken by the most recent iteration of the CHRB regarding racing integrity and the safety of horses and riders. They walk the talk, e.g., being among the first to institute house rules banning raceday-Lasix for two-year-olds.

While mindful of the optics that guide public perception, they initially instituted whip rules that were more in line with international standards. But the most recent restrictions appears to be a bridge too far.

The first horse I ever rode was as a kid in that hotbed of horsemanship, Sheepshead Bay. My last mount was about a decade ago in Saratoga–in Congress Park.

And even in my undereducated view, whipping underhanded only and/or limiting whip strokes to two consecutive strikes doesn’t seem to make sense.

Isn’t racing official experience, expertise, and common-sense apply? Isn’t abusing whipping a lot like pornography—you know it when you see it? Aren’t stewards trained to recognize the difference, acting only when whipping becomes excessive?

The answer concerning the kinder, gentler, softer but effective “riding crops” falls on the public’s deaf ears because why fan education is the answer, it has remained largely a talking point without execution. Because most tracks are closed to the public at the moment, public demonstrations remain on hold.

Mike Smith’s recent argument makes sense; underhanded whipping is not enough, especially considering horses that lug in or bare out which is commonplace, in every race, every day, at every venue.

Danger to riders are clear and ever present. Jockeys must concentrate on doing their jobs and not be overly concerned by technicalities.

Limited whip rules in place at Mid-Atlantic tracks are playing to favorable reviews. New York is looking into the issue and is on the agenda for tomorrow’s New York State Gaming Commission board meeting.

Compromise, anyone?

IN SUPPORT OF NYRA’s PRO-ACTION

It appears the New York Racing Association is getting serious in making up the ground lost to Kentucky tracks whose strong purse levels have pecked away at traditional New York outfits.

But starting today, purses will increase, some by as much as 25%, a rise that will also include the short 18-day Aqueduct Fall meet which begins on Breeders’ Cup weekend.

To underscore their support of horsemen, all winning connections at the current Belmont Fall meet will have their accounts adjusted with a 50% retroactive bonus.

NYRA also announced its Aqueduct Winter schedule, one that will mirror last year’s, racing four days per week December through February, reduced to thrice weekly in March, before expanding back to the four-day routine in April.

Three elements have combined to make purse increases possible. Betting on the NYRA product is strong, and while share of simulcast revenues is smaller from off-track sources, it has increased. Additionally, the less-is-more concept is working.

Fewer dates and fewer races per card make more money available to horsemen on race days. This approach has the benefit of increasing field size due to fewer opportunities.

Of course, the recent reopening of the Resorts World racino operations is a significant difference maker. NYRA’s fortunes may be looking up.

BETS ‘N PIECES: CLASSY RACING TOPPED BY CHAMPIONS DAY

Nothing like anticipating Group 1s from Ascot before 10 AM on a Saturday morning, and what a great a start to the British Champions Day program with history making performances and a great feel good story, too.

Riding sensation Hollie Doyle took her first career Group 1, and first ever by a female on British Champions Day. Additionally, he took the first half of her personal $400+ daily double winning the Long Distance Cup marathon with Trueshan.

Soon thereafter then returned to win the British Champions Sprint by absolutely riding the hair off Glen Shiel who led throughout after catching a flyer from the stalls, lost the lead with 100 yards to go, but remarkably came again under two-handed highly energetic booting from Doyle.

In the lynchpin Champion Stakes, her real life partner, Tom Marqaund, guided Addeybb perfectly for William Haggis, atoning for the gelding’s Champion Stakes runnerup finish in 2019.

Marquand only won his first career Group 1 last month. Life couldn’t be better for British racing’s young darlings.

Wonderful Tonite proved a prompt favorite in the British Champions Filly and Mare event thanks to her highly unusual display of stamina after a very demanding trip on soft ground.

In fact, it was the filly’s second Group 1 win over a two-week span. Decisions as to whether we will see any of them at the Breeders’ Cup are pending…

BETS ‘N PIECES

Bodexpress remained undefeated in three starts at “Calder” with an 11-1/4 length  victory in the wet-track feature, missing the track record by .001 seconds in a powerhouse performance. Might be ready to re-enter prime time once again…

Performer returned to racing at Belmont Park following an 11-month absence and won like the future early favorite for the Cigar Mile, whatever happens between now and the first weekend of December…

Venetian Harbor finally got away from some of the division’s heavy heads and found the competition much to her liking, taking Keeneland’s G2 Raven Run. Despite controlling a moderate pace, she was all out to withstand tough-tripping, rail-running runnerup Finite, who might have been best…

Terrific stamina workout for Tiz the Law Saturday morning [full disclosure I have not yet seen it], but love the way it played out on paper: Six furlongs in 1:12.26, following splits of 13.07, 24.84, 36.43, and 47.63, galloping out 7 furlongs in 1:25.46 with a double-gallop out of 1:40.05 for one mile…

Great video interviews from Eclipse-winning freelancer Jennie Rees who spoke with the trainers of Tom’s d’Etat, Swiss Skydiver and Art Collector about their Breeders’ Cup prospects. If interested, find it on Kentucky HBPA’s YouTube Channel.

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⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

32 Responses

  1. John: Lets give tremendous credit to the entire NYRA management team, including Dave O’Rourke, Marty Panza and Tony Allevato for navigating through this difficult year. Also, none of it could have been accomplished without the support of the NYTHA team, including Joe Applebaum. In this regard, the recently announced purse increase will result in larger fields, and increased handle numbers. Its a win/win for everyone involved in NY racing. As an aside, NYRA announced that the increased purse amounts will be applied through to the end of the Spring meeting at the Big A next April. Moreover, as a New York resident, I want to support NY racing by placing my bets through NYRA Bets, where my dollar returns more to the purse account than through other ADWs.
    However, John, looking to the immediate and long-term future, there are strong headwinds that might be negatively impacting both New York State, and the NYRA. It is the Governor’s refusal to implement online Sports Betting in New York State. It is not a coincidence that New Jersey is setting records with regard to its Sports Betting infrastructure. There is a whole lot of New York money being siphoned off to our neighbors to the West. John, Dennis Drazen’s determination in pursuing Sports Betting is the stuff of legends. I can never give him enough praise for his refusal to quit and in pursuing every legal remedy possible in ending the foolish PAPSA ban on Sports Betting. They must put a Statue of him at the entrance to Monmouth Park.
    Nevertheless, New York State cannot allow this situation to exist any longer. NYRA’s “enemy” at this point in time is the behemoth that has become Fan Duel/Betfair/TVG. We have been watching the “war” between NYRA/Fox and TVG , since May. There is no end in sight. New York racing will not survive if Fan Duel/TVG wins this War. They have a very strong foothold with their Sports Book at the Meadowlands ( I wonder if Sonny Werblin and Well Mara could have envisioned that ). John, I know that an obscene amount of money is being wagered at that Sports Book, by New Yorkers ( both online and onsite). However, where for art thou, Andrew Cuomo? Why are you permitting so much money to be leaving this State, especially at this time in history? John, 25 years ago, the current President of the US, literally “bought off” our State Legislature to prevent New York from passing a Casino Amendment. He was trying to protect his Atlantic City Hotels from competition. We actually have Sports Betting at the Upstate casinos. But who is going to drive to Monticello, when you can just drive across the Hudson to East Rutherford? The time to allow mobile Sports Betting was yesterday. What is Cuomo waiting for? By the way, while mobile Sports Betting should have been done long ago, we can’t let NYRA be hung out to dry when its passed. If we want NYRA to flourish in this Century, it must be permitted to add Sports Betting to its portfolio. Its not difficult, John, to envision, a brand new Sports Betting operation, by NYRA, at the new Islanders ( A/k/a USB) Arena. One can also imagine that, finally, at long last, the Breeders Cup will return to its true purpose and that Belmont will once again host the “World Championships” ( John, maybe the Fall meeting will matter again?). As “Red” learned in Shawshank, HOPE is a good thing! I hope too!

  2. Fram, nothing to add to this detailed and comprehensively historical tome. In the overview, only the words of The Boss, uttered here before, need apply, and it applies to all things, imploring whatever spirit moves you including one’s self, this mantra:

    May your strength give us strength…
    May your faith give us faith…
    May your hope give us hope…
    May your love give us love.

    And sure as hell New York racing needs all the love it can get from “the second floor” in Albany…

  3. John, sorry to change the subject, but it is the ultimate subject, to wit, ensuring racing’s future through economic reform. I don’t know if you had the chance to read the Q&A conducted by the TDN with Greg Avioli yet ( its in today’s TDN) but it should be mandatory reading by every single person involved in Thoroughbred racing. John, I think that I have finally found the true “enemy” of racing and its Mr. Avioli.

    This is a person who has been the President of the following organizations: 1) the NTRA; 2) the Breeders Cup Ltd; 3) the Stronach Group; and 4) currently, the TOC. In other words, he is quite literally, the Poster Boy for the entire Industry. John, how has Mr. Avioli been able to become the head of all of these major organizations in Racing? In reading through this article, it is apparent that Mr. Avioli is incapable of an original thought. When asked to confront the significant dichotomy between the increase in ADW profits vs. the simultaneous decrease in Purses, he merely complains about the budget of the CHRB. He also seemingly threatens the California Trainers with possible fees for the “privilege” of stabling at California tracks. There is not a word about the bettors, save for a throwaway line about increasing field size. If this industry keeps recycling executives like Mr. Avioli, there will be no HOPE for racing. If racing requires something to shake the doldrums, it needs some New Blood, in the Executive Suites across America. Old, irrelevant thinking, like that espoused by Mr. Avioli, will only result in the inevitable extinction of the sport.

    1. You have just defined the essence of the “old boy network,” good old boys with talking points and guaranteed not to make waves, guarding the status quo with their lives. Or perhaps we’re wrong, that Mr. Avioli is so talented that everyone wanted him on board. To me, it’s part of the cliche that is as old as racing itself: “Never trust an honest man!”

      I will effort to find the time to read it. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Framarco,
    Comments such as yours are most welcome in the increasing absence of other voices here that once helped sustain the search for truth and fairness among racing’s power structure.

    Avioli’s career path seems to be one of decreasing power since his BC tenure. Has anyone heard of Lou Raffetto since he held the same position at the TOC? Perhaps this is the end of the line for Mr. Avioli as well.

    I doubt there is a more player-unfriendly horsemen’s group than the TOC, or a State in which racing is more likely to lose stature than California.

    1. I,
      You have touched on something. To revisit something we wrote years ago, when talk of a Racing Commissioner first surfaced… I, too, now have given up hope that some sort of racing league, with a Commissioner, could give the industry some direction.

      Lou Raffetto would have made a great candidate for such a position. Alas, politics. Which brings us to our second point.

      You speak of the “absence of voices that helped sustain the search for truth and fairness…” My theories:

      Those absent voices were never interested in a search for truth, only that their voices be heard and egos gratified and anyone who believes I haven’t given them a fair hearing and enough rope either are not paying attention or are liars. Too many argued with obfuscation, not justifiable criticisms, rancor ruled and I’m sure that turned off many fans as well.

      Two: The truth hurts and some HRI readers resented being called out for their unfairness, bias, rudeness, name calling and for launching criticism for criticism’s sake.

      There was a precipitous drop-off when I edited a comment, excising an unfair personal attack on a third party out of mean spiritedness. I allowed the rest of the comment to stand unabridged, but that wasn’t enough. I suppose I should have quietly deleted the entire comment and not put myself as exec. editor out there…

      But I know the critics return for the commentary and selections but otherwise I’m sure I can go to hell. But I digress

      Finally, my political screeds. America is a democratic republic. I am a citizen who considers it my duty to speak out when democracy is in danger of being autocracy, where facts and science are devalued for political purposes.

      The Republicans who comprise the Lincoln Project are my heroes. They are true patriots, their creed being that as Americans we are duty-bound to disagree philosophically, but with an allegiance to facts, truth, fairness but, above all the democratic process and the institutions that protect it, serving whichever party is in charge.

      I would let political differences slide and stay out of the political fray in the public arena, but not when a capitulation to evil is the alternative. I owe respect to all those Americans that have died for my rights in service of their country.

      Hopefully, on NOV 4, I will not have that concern to deal with any longer. Astonishingly, it is still a horse race.

      The fact–after all that has happened in plain sight–that 40% of the country would support what a true criminal and murderer-by-policy-proxy astounds me.

      I am 76 years old and the more I learn about how the history books have essentially misrepresented what happened and why, the more I resent it.

      As I wrote on Twitter–which I can’t wait to exit from the political space there, too–first comes the reckoning, then forgiveness. Sadly, we have been at Civil War for four years.

      I was no fan of Raegan, or the Bushes, and resented several actions taken by Bill Clinton, but I never, ever questioned their patriotism. The fact that treasonous acts are ignored astounds me.

      This above all has probably cost me more readers but priorities, like Black Lives, matter. I will speak out every time, whatever the professional cost. It’s the only way I can live with myself.

      In the mean time, I will do what I can for the good of the game, however misguided my approach may be.

      1. Promise to self: Do not argue politics with John Pricci today or any day.

        Yes, John, we have our political differences. My problem with commenting on HRI is that my messages were edited or deleted. That’s censorship.

        There are tons of racing issues that we can discuss – and that’s why I keep showing up here. The racing commentary is on target; among the very best in the business. You have not shied away from any controversial racing subject that I can think of in recent memory.

        So, given the above, I’ll stay in here and continue to comment solely on racing issues, if you allow the comments to stand. For example, the new New Jersey Racing Commission rule that outlaws the use of whips in 2021 during a race will, in my opinion, be a total disaster to racing in this state. Reportedly, jockeys, trainers, owners, etc. were not consulted before the vote was taken. That’s just an awful way to regulate this sport.

        John, stay active, stay healthy and I hope to trade more messages with you in the coming months.

        1. Richard, thanks for re-engaging.

          For the record, I do not remember our issue specifically. I do know that edited comment unlikely was yours as you have always conducted yourself as a gentleman and wouldn’t engage in personal attacks–and in that case I was defending a third party, not myself, Criticisms on commentary go with the territory when you sign up for this.

          As stated above, I pray for the day when I can dis-engage from politics and follow the news as I did prior to the world changing in 2016.

          So, yes, let’s talk racing only, and thank you for the otherwise kind remarks about what we try to accomplish here, if for no other reason than giving issues a good airing.

          On your topic, I will agree and disagree. If racing officials, or the industry’s aim to do what’s best for the sport and the betting public, they shouldn’t need the permission of the participants who are licensed. Participation in racing is a privilege, not a right. On the rest, we agree.

          I do not have the final answer to whip issue but do believe the riders–and I number some friends among them–when they tell me they need to carry whips for their own safety. These are 100-pound men on 1,000-pound animals going through spaces thisclose, at 40 mph, no times-out permitted. Could not pay me enough money…

          But the horse must be protected, too, so there must be some curtailment on the number of strokes permitted. When does encouragement become abusive. Also as stated originally, competent officials should know it when they see it.

          1. Thanks, John.

            Re the new NJ whip rule: You are correct in saying that racing officials “shouldn’t need the permission of the participants who are licensed.” I would simply ask our officials to consult with those participants and then rule appropriately. Acting unilaterally on this most important issue doesn’t benefit the game.

            Here’s a quick stroll down memory lane. My first trip to Saratoga was circa-1985. I can recall several times when Track Announcer, Marshall Cassidy said that the Harvey Pack’s Paddock Club was about to begin and “Harvey’s very special guest today is John Pricci from Newsday.” Very special, indeed. Your wisdom in those days was very helpful and – decades later – remains the case. As a side note, I think back to those grand old days at The Old Spa with Harvey at the microphone with great reverence. Those were the best of times – coupled with some winning days, of course.

            What I’ve discovered is that the HRI Faithful are often insightful (and sometimes inciteful, too) but we benefit from hearing positive and negative comments on the racing issues of today. The commentary offered by (in no particular order) wmcorrow, Top Turf Teddy, Indulto, Vin, Doctor Disaster, Framarco, McD and a number of other regulars and irregulars makes HRI a worthwhile, must-visit website. Yes, I miss “hearing” from Denny and some others who have – for whatever reason – wandered away. Come back (if you see this message) !!!

      2. JP,
        I’m delighted to have instigated such an inspired response.

        I hadn’t heard much about the Lincoln Project beyond its involvement by one of the dueling Conways, but I too am encouraged by my subsequent searches for information about them them after reading your comment.

        PED deployment and detection will remain a major integrity issue (despite legislation addressing it) until effective results occur, but IMO over-reactive whip use restrictions are a major competence issue that could destroy racing beforehand if no fair, reasonable compromise can be achieved.

        The first time I lose a big score in a major stakes race because my pick(s) weren’t “adequately encouraged” will be my last. How one could ignore such an experience and continue to play the game is beyond me.

  5. I just noticed that Aqueduct is not running a Thanksgiving Day card this year.

    Do you know if that’s just a 1 year thing since they can’t have customers in the complex dining anyhow?

    I really hope so; I have always loved either running out there for the early card before family plans, or just playing those races at home. It’s part of the Thanksgiving tradition for me.

  6. Doc, I do not know and frankly neither can NYRA say what will happen to the Thanksgiving card next year. I think you answered on your question as to this year.

    When I was on the beat at Newsday, I enjoyed the novelty of the 11 am post time. What I didn’t care for was getting on the Belt Parkway in Queens home to Syosset at 2:30-3:00 pm with everyone making their way to grandma’s.

    After what the horsemen went through this year, let them enjoy a day with family and friends–before getting back to the barn at feed time…

  7. Yeah that commute heading east on Thanksgiving afternoon is not the way. If you’re on the Belt or the LIE heading east, make sure you throw the football game on the radio cause it’s gonna be a long ride.

    I agree 100% with them being closed this year. It’s been a shitty year for them, and beyond the usual care of the horses, they don’t need to be throwing in the extra work involved in an afternoon of races on a holiday.

    1. And, sadly, Doc, there, no doubt will be fewer trips to grandma’s house this year, too. I don’t encourage this language–which I normally reserve for Twitter–but shitty for 2020 gets it!

      1. You’re right – I don’t plan on going over to my brother’s for the Thanksgiving dinner I annually have; his wife’s family is from southern NJ and I doubt they stay home, the mixing with NY seems suboptimal to me, plus my mother lives on long island and is in her 70s and I don’t feel comfortable picking her up and bringing her there, so if i do anything, it will be to have Thanksgiving dinner at mom’s, just me and her, and then get on facetime or something. Since I’m on the subway 8-10 times per week, I also plan on having another Covid test the Friday before that Thanksgiving Thursday, and will work from home that Mon-Wed to completely eliminate exposure post-covid test. It’s a small price to pay, and i hope it will be the rule rather than the exception, as we have done extremely well in NY in masking up, distancing, and testing, since April.

        And secondly, my apologies for the profanity. My gf walks out of the room when i curse, and I should treat the online living room the same.

        1. Doc,

          No one needs to apologize for language more than I.

          If you’ve caught my non-racing Twitter act you know what I’m talking about. It’s just that this sub-human infuriates me so with his lack of respect for other American lives.

          I’m in South Florida for the warmth and the sunshine and consider myself a New Yorker who happens to be living in SoFla at this point in my life. If the unthinkable happens on the first Tuesday in NOV, it will be Vancouver here we come–if they’ll have me that is.

          I’m not the biggest Andrew Cuomo fan, he never practiced what he preached about his “second chance” program. I guess if he did, it would be an admission that a state agency helped to frame Rick Dutrow.

          But he left it up to the NYSGC the same way the feds left Covid policy to the states. But, on balance, nursing homes not withstanding, he did an amazing job. He didn’t cower the way the chief executive did–he took responsibility for the health of all his citizens, not just the “blue” ones.

          Like you, will be doing FaceTime with family; the new normal sucks…

          1. Appreciate that! I’m stunned that Rick Dutrow isn’t back training yet after being given time served. There are more than enough questions there for 8 years to be considered way more than enough. It would be one nice way to end such a horrific year of 2020, to see Dutrow’s license reinstated in NY.

            I also agree with you on Cuomo. Not so long ago, I was absolutely livid with him – when he chased Andy Byford out of the MTA. Byford was finally a guy you felt confident was going to turn the subways around and Cuomo couldn’t take the ego blow of someone getting so much credit. But when the country was thrown into a tailspin and the federal govt was overwhelmed and not up to the job, and told the states that they were on their own, you could not find a more impressive textbook definition of a leader. He came through in the biggest way when the stakes were highest, and was the adult in the room.

  8. Mr. Moore, Mr. Pricci, So positive to read your uplifting exchange, or positive “intercourse”, between two gentlemen of character who can still harbor opposing views. Refreshing that the four letter word ending in K equating to intercourse, TALK, prevails between you both, over the other four letter ending in intercourse K so often exchanged via Twitter. You both have earned my thanks and respect.

    The banning of Lasix for two year old is indeed praise worthy, but I personally view the whipping regulations cited as misguided. I take it we all simply recognize excessive whipping when we see it. How can a Steward not? Judgement is the balance of moderation that must be enforced by the oversight of stewardship.

    Borrowing from the excursion to Ascot, I offer the definition of stewardship from the Oxford Languages. “Stewardship is the job of supervising or taking care of something such as an organization or property”. In this discussion, the care and protection of all of racings participants, riders, horses, and even including the fans. Eyes wide open to allow for that protection is not enough. What is lacking apparent is the “intestinal fortitude” and honesty to enforce the existing regulation of “what we all know what it is when we see it”.

    Turkey Day will be missing the added stuffing ingredient of two or three races from the Big A this year. Sort of like Memorial Day absent the Metropolitan. Sad is all Doctor D.

    P.S. One shout out added to The Cat from Eastport. Come on back. Your verse is missed. “Bigly”. Your verse was the perfect bookend for the pentameter presented by the I-Man from the West, Indulto.

    Fram, I also long for the day when Elmont gets another shot. It has been far too long.

    1. McD,
      I too miss Tobasco Cat’s unique talent for relating popular song lyrics to HRI discussion topics. At least he knows how much he was appreciated. Hope he is well.

  9. McD,

    Indeed, it has been far too long. Now that NYRA is under state stewardship, which is the bad and good news, there’s no excuse for Breeders’ Cup to not return to New York, especially now that the next-door arena would be an added attraction. Time for Belmont Park to once again be the site of an Eclipse champion “winning one for America.”

    Too late now but next year would have been the 20th anniversary of Tiznow’s Classic repeat. It is time BC Ltd. grew up and allowed bygones to be bygones. And another factor, who knows what the Fall of 2021 will look like?

  10. John: My grandma ( may she RIP) lived in Sheepshead Bay. The car rides from exit 17, on the Southern State, to Brooklyn every Friday evening for family dinner was an exercise in torture. What I wouldn’t give now to be able to be “tortured” again!

  11. Read online Doc daughter (Sue Bird) recently won WNBA title w/Seattle Storm. Thought I would share. As many trophies as Zenyatta.

    1. Thanks for the note, Doc. Used to see him at Syosset High School games as my daughter played basketball as well, and even then, of course, Sue was a star… God-given talent.

  12. Thanks for the heads up on the Trial of The Chicago Seven John. Very well done and history always seems to repeat. John Mitchell in service to Tricky Dick not far removed from the current actions of AG William Barr, Not a red state blue state comment mind you. Just a comment and comparison between Mitchell and Barr’s questionable support of DJT.

    I suspect Tabasco Cat and I versed once to often on issues other than racing. I recall TJ expressing objection and Tabasco exited the site. And now TJ has apparently exited as well.

    More bad copy on Bob Baffert today. History repeats.

  13. McD, as long as political comments appear to be fact-based, I don’t object to the occasional comment. I just don’t engage with certain readers on the subject is all. The two part Comey with Jeff Daniels was fascinating.

    I learned that I was quick to judgment, like most of the country, in 2016. One can argue with his ultimate choice but their were two worlds in conflict and both were laudable. Thing it was Showtime but you can probably find it somewhere.

    It’s more than worth the time. Excellent writing and performances.

    As for Cat, I think he simply got bored.

    TJ? Have no idea, but I can guess…

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